KOF Swiss Leading Indicator Declined in February

Switzerland’s KOF economic indicator decreased for a fifth month in February, suggesting the economy may weaken in the first half of this year.

The monthly gauge, which aims to predict the economy’s direction about six months ahead, dropped to 1.03 from a revised 1.12 in January, the KOF Swiss Economic Institute in Zurich said in an e-mailed statement today. Economists forecast a retreat to 1, the median of 15 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Switzerland’s economy returned to growth in the third quarter, expanding at the fastest pace since 2010 even as the euro area, its biggest trading partner, fell into a recession. Yet the strong franc is still damping exports and Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan said last week the minimum exchange rate of 1.20 per euro remained the correct monetary policy instrument.

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